March 9, 2012
Box Score pdf
STANFORD, Calif. - Rice and Stanford needed more than just nine innings to determine a winner in an elite heavyweight match-up between two of college baseball's Top 5 teams Friday night at the Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto, Calif. The pitching battle went late on the west coast before the Cardinal claimed a 4-2 decision with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth inning.
The duel where both teams had five hits each for ten innings looked like it might be a slugfest early. The Owls jumped on the scoreboard for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Christian Stringer drew a leadoff walk and Craig Manuel singled through the right-side. Ryan Lewis coaxed a two-out walk to load the bases and J.T. Chargois followed with a single up the middle to drive-home two.
There was a lot of baseball let to play. Stanford tied the contest in the bottom of the third. Lonnie Kauppila hit a leadoff double to right field and Tyler Gaffney was hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced 90 feet on Justin Ringo's sacrifice bunt. Kauppila scored on a wild pitch and Gaffney came home on a ground ball out up the middle to make the score 2-2.
Matthew Reckling started on the mound for Rice and was solid in his fourth start of the season. The senior right-hander from Houston allowed three hits and four walks while striking out seven in a no-decision. Stanford countered with star Mark Appel, a teammate of Reckling's during collegiate summer-league games and even little-league baseball in the Houston area. Appel pitched 9.0 innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out 14.
Rice appeared to have something going in the top of the sixth when Jeremy Rathjen singled and Lewis was hit by a pitch. The Blue & Gray also put the leadoff man on base to start the tenth, but the Cardinal avoided the danger.
In the bottom of the tenth Rice recorded an out of the leadoff batter, but Gaffney drew a walk. Justin Ringo then followed with a home run to right field to end the game, 4-2. The homer was his first of the season and his first base hit of the year. Rice dropped to 12-3 on the season. Stanford improved to 12-1.
The three-game weekend series against national power Stanford continues through Sunday. Saturday start times against the Cardinal are set 3 pm on Saturday and 2 pm Sunday. All start times are listed as Central Time.